Yuzu Japanese Restaurant brings upscale sushi and cocktails to Rockwall
Fair or not, when the question arises of where to find sushi around Dallas-Fort Worth, the town of Rockwall does not immediately come to mind. But that's exactly how Yuzu Japanese Restaurant & Bar — a sushi restaurant that opened in mid-October at The Harbor complex on the shore of Lake Ray Hubbard — came to be.
Owners Ray and Mika Win came to Rockwall specifically with the idea of bringing a fine modern Japanese restaurant, serving fresh fish from Japan, to an area they felt was underserved.
"It's a pretty new concept for locals around here," Mika says. "You no longer have to drive to Dallas to get good sushi."
Win worked in the restaurant industry for eight years, mostly in California where the couple previously resided. Yuzu is her first solo venture and her vision.
It's named for the yuzu, a citrus fruit native to Japan that maintains its clarity and tartness even when cooked at high temperatures. Yuzu is incorporated throughout the menu, from salads to rolls to cocktails to dessert.
The house salad with baby spinach and tomato is enlivened by a yuzu olive oil dressing, and there's a Yuzu Crudo, with madai AKA red sea bream, orange, almond, and yuzu chojang, a spicy-hot Japanese pepper condiment.
“It’s my favorite cold dish we are serving now,” Win says.
Their signature Yuzu sushi roll does not contain yuzu but does boast the most familiar ingredients, crab and avocado, to which they've added seared salmon and a crowd-pleasing mango coulis.
Other inventive rolls include Toro Truffle, with truffled spicy tuna and truffle ponzu, and a surf & turf roll with Texas Wagyu, tempura shrimp, and asparagus. That one goes for a steep $30 - blame the Wagyu - but more basic rolls including a salmon roll with avocado and yuzu koshu (a condiment made from yuzu fruit and hot chiles) are $12 to $15.
And they offer a nod to the current omakase trend with two "moriawase" dishes, featuring the chef's nightly suggestions of nigiri ($32) and sashimi ($50).
A small selection of entree-style hot dishes include beef or chicken teriyaki, with the chicken sourced from an Amish supplier; Chilean sea bass with den miso, a sauce combining miso with sake and sugar originally served by the Nobu chain, and the most expensive item at $39; and roasted cauliflower served with jalapeno salsa, for $14.
Even in Dallas, you'd be hard-pressed to find some of these ingredients and culinary touches.
“We have a modern Japanese menu, where we incorporate a lot of international influences,” Win says.
Yuzu took over the space formerly occupied by the Mexican restaurant El Potrillo De La Sandia, which closed during the pandemic after more than a decade. Extensive, cross-cultural renovations, and just sheer cleaning, took nearly a year to complete. The space now has a sushi bar as well as a full bar where you can find Japanese-influenced cocktails such as their yuzu margarita, made with yuzu juice, and a sidecar that uses Japanese whiskey.
They're still in soft opening mode and the menu is still being tweaked, but the reception has been so positive that they are expanding their hours to include Sunday lunch. They're currently open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5-10 pm and 11 am-10 pm on Sunday.
Before you leave, don't forget dessert: a refreshing and dairy-free yuzu sorbet.